Exclusive Q&A with Alan Walsh, CEO Amido

Alan Walsh has engaged in global delivery management roles for big brands such Marks and Spencer, Channel 4 and lastminute.com before setting up Amido in 2010. He speaks here exclusively about how Amido is rocking the IT consultancy boat.

amido

Q. So, Mr Walsh, how would you describe Amido to ‘the person on the street’?

A. We are a privately owned, vendor-agnostic technical consultancy that specialises in implementing cloud-first solutions to deliver business value, fast.

We help our clients build flexibility for the future and differentiation of customer experience. And, we do this while minimising business-risk and build-cost.

Q So, please tell my readers more about the market you’re in

A.  We believe companies are tired of paying large sums to global consultancies such as IBM and Cap Gemini and waiting years for innovative projects and new functionality to be delivered to the business.

Q So you’re trying to disrupt this dated model?

​A Yes. It currently takes too long for IT behemoths ​to deliver business value and we are ​disrupting the old model by​ going straight to the cloud
​and doing things faster, in a more agile way and on a more personal level.

Q. In the sector right now, what is hot apart from disruption?

A. Well, there’s the obvious rise in cloud technology adoption, there is a skills shortage in this area that needs to be addressed and we know there is an increased demand for solid engineering expertise in agile software development to enable digital transformation​.

​Q. What is the problem that Amido is solving?

A. We believe CIOs are asking: “How do I spend my IT budget on something that innovates and delivers real business value to the business and our customers, quickly?”.

That, effectively is us.

​We are assembling and integrating proven cloud technologies, often building solutions around an existing core while enabling clients to prioritise their investment between commodity services and those that deliver competitive advantage.

​Q. So which companies are you currently working with?

​A. We think we’re gathering an impressive client list, past and present. This includes​ ASOS, ​CBRE, ​Coats, ​Channel 4, Faithful+Gould (part of Atkins Global), Global Radio, ​London City Airport, ​the RSA and a couple of major high street banks and public sector bodies we can’t name… as much as we’d love to.​

​Q. Why do you think you’re a cut above your competitors?​

A.  A lot of our competitors are technically biased or aligned to particular vendors. We don’t operate like that.

Our choices for our clients are not based on kickbacks from enormous IT vendors. We make pragmatic choices.

Amido was set up because we felt that enterprises and digital agencies were trying to re-invent the wheel every time a new project came along.

​We think the real magic is hiring the best engineers, understanding what our clients need, knowing the technology that is available in the marketplace and aligning these technologies together in the most effective way.

Finally, tell us about the culture of the company​

​A. The company founders have all worked with each other in previous lives – software companies, digital agencies, client-side technical teams.

​We set up Amido as we were frustrated with how technology was being delivered in organisations and agencies/consultancies.

Consequently we only hire the best and we like to think he have a sense of humour in an industry that is generally considered dry and a little stolid.​ I think the video that you plan to run with this Q&A shows that pretty well.

​Q. Thanks for coming in, Alan, enjoyed the conversation, I think our readers will do as well

​A. My pleasure, thanks for having me.

Amido’s containerisation rolls out Coats web app

Industrial thread manufacturer stitches its industry’s digital agenda using Amido Azure container service.


amidoAmido, a technical consultancy specialising in assembling and integrating cloud technologies, has been chosen by Coats to build a scalable platform to help its customer base manage its corporate responsibility during the supply chain process.

Amido works with brands like ASOS, CBRE and Channel 5 to remove friction from their customers’ online and mobile experiences to drive revenue and engagement. The company are ranked 12th in The Sunday Times Lloyds SME Export Track 100 league table, the UK’s top 100 SMEs with the fastest-growing international sales

Furthering the company’s commitment to digitally transform its services, the application is one of the first enterprises to use Azure Container Services in a customer-facing environment. By using Amido’s technical expertise, Coats launched a web portal on a container-based platform, laying down a challenge to industry sceptics who are critical of container solutions.

Amido’s recommendation to use containers came from Coats’ requirements for an adaptable, scalable and manageable platform that would adhere to the strict regulations of global trading. With large investments from Amazon, Google and Microsoft, the option of containers is becoming an early viable solution. Over the next three years, Amido predicts that there will be a large rise in its implementation.

“Containers give clients more control over the infrastructure they are deploying. This is because you are not creating a Virtual Machine for every instance of an application, meaning deployments are rapid and the overhead of the operating system is significantly lower.

“It means that we can issue an upgrade/change that will take effect almost immediately, without disruption to the general use of the portal. This advantage of application upgrades and changes is vital, especially when committed to digitally transform its services – without the added costs legacy systems can bring,” said Chris Gray, Technical Director of Amido.

Amido warns that containers are not a magic fix for all legacy or monolithic solutions and the decision to containerise software needs to be considered carefully. Containers are valuable when monolithic applications can be split into smaller components which can be distributed across a containerised infrastructure.

“We are breaking new ground in our industry with this platform. Speed is everything, so scaling and adapting is very important to us. We looked for a partner that understood all technologies, platforms and applications to help us. Amido met these requirements and we were able to create a system that not only challenged container-use perception at an enterprise level, but also did so in a timely and cost-effective manner,” said Basheer Shahul, Digital Solutions Director, at Coats.

Geolocation, geolocation, geolocation?… Mobsta leads the way

London-based location targeting company Mobsta has come top in an independent ranking of geolocation providers in the UK, conducted by MediaCom, one of the world’s leading agencies.


MobstaThe mobile world has undergone several transformations since the mobile phone went mass market and at every stage of that development there have been Wild West situations.

Rather like a wagon train being surrounded by First Nation Americans, it has always been a business for explorers and not all of them honourable.

Mobile advertising, mobile games, mobile technologies… they’ve all attracted hucksters and bullshitters and not the new game in town is geolocation. An ecosystem is emerging, but there are no real regulations and standards for brands and agencies to refer to.

Fortunately, things are changing for the better and a recent independent ranking of geolocation providers in the UK. run by MediaCom, which can across three client brands, finally offers some form of yardstick.

The report was designed to determine the validity of the claims of many of the companies that they offer the best reach and accuracy and winner was… London-based location targeting company Mobsta.

Out of the nine participants, Mobsta, which employs Placecast’s programmatic technology, came first in both scale and accuracy tests. Out of the 15 providers were originally invited to participate in the test, nine companies declined to take part. I wonder why THAT was, maybe they shouldn’t have made it into the wagon train anyway.

“There are many companies who offer compelling targeting and measurement solutions but it’s difficult to know whose story is real and how accurately they can deliver on location targeting.

“We wanted to have confidence in our recommendations to clients, so created this test to help us cut through the claims, and offer definitive advice on how accurate hyper-local targeting is,” said Owain Wilson, Data Strategy Director at MediaCom.

Mobsta is a specialist in location targeting and audience profiling techniques and has the exclusive rights to the Placecast mobile data management platform (DMP) that aggregates location data and user behaviour across different devices in the physical world.

The company translates it into audience segments that can be targeted through mobile advertising campaigns via its Demand Side Platform (DSP). The platform delivers a understanding of the relationship between users and locations over time, enabling them to make smarter marketing decisions.

“With the ever-increasing use of mobile advertising and changes in format, we see a real opportunity for brands to use geolocation and welcome efforts like these to help brands navigate the crowded market place. Third party validation is key and we hope that this study will encourage more brands to invest in the technology to improve their campaigns,” concluded George Dixon, Strategy Director, Mobsta

New workmates are searched by co-workers on social media

A new report says that one in four employees search social media for information on new workmates


workmates The first day in a new job is always daunting, not least relationships with co-workers. In 2017, it appears that nosey parkers are turning to social media to find out who’s new at the company.

According to cybersecurity company Online Spy Shop, on a study into workplace social media snooping, as many as 24% of new workmates may search personal social media accounts for information.

In the first week of a new job, 1 in 4 workmates will search for you on social media. On the first day, only 5% will search for information, but that increases throughout the week as people get nosier. There can be no hidden skeletons because there is no place to hide them.

The report also goes on to say that 19% of respondents waited at least one day, but searched within the space of a week, with Twitter (bizarrely) being the most common platform for snooping on new colleagues, followed by Instagram and Facebook.

On the plus side, the report also says 34% of respondents said they will wait until they’ve got to know a colleague before searching for them, while 21% said they’ve never searched for a new colleague on social media.

As ever, pictures are more important than words. More than 25% of people who did admit to snooping, 25% did so to look at pictures, 22% wanted to find out relationship status, while only 3% said they did it just for ‘general nosiness’.

“Social media has put people’s private lives within tempting reach of anyone who cares to view it, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that so many people look up new colleagues as soon as they meet them, and in some cases, before they meet them.

“While most of it is undoubtedly innocent curiosity, this does raise genuine privacy concerns. I’d urge anyone to do two things. Firstly, make sure their privacy settings are how they want them to be and secondly, consider removing any posts they’d be uncomfortable with new colleagues seeing,” said Steve Roberts, cybersecurity consultant at Online Spy Shop.

Uber boom brings down taxi drivers’ wages by 10%

New survey shows that Uber has led to a 10% fall in wages for traditional taxi drivers, but overall driver numbers have boomed.


uberUber’s rollout across US cities has driven down wages by 10% among salaried taxi drivers, according to a new report from the University of Oxford.

The Oxford Martin School report Drivers of Disruption? drills into the the impact of Uber on taxi drivers from 2009 to 2015, using data on the rollout of Uber across cities from the American Community Survey (ACS), a leading source of information on the US workforce.

It found that on average the number of self-employed taxi drivers in a city went up by almost 50% after Uber was introduced, but also driving wages down by an average of 10% of traditional taxi drivers, compared to cities where Uber remained absent.

The study also found that:

• The number of hours worked increased among both salaried and self-employed taxi drivers

• Even traditional taxi services experienced growing employment after the introduction of Uber

• Uber drivers typically earn more per hour than their counterparts

• The decline in traditional taxi incomes was offset by an expansion of business income among self-employed drivers

“The data provides the first hard evidence of the impact of the ‘sharing economy’. Uber is the flagship of the sharing economy, but what our study shows is that even in one of the sharing economy’s most exposed industries, traditional jobs have not been displaced,” said Dr Frey, Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Technology and Employment.

The report raises questions about efforts being made, in parts of Europe and elsewhere, to ban or restrict the adoption of Uber. The losers, however, are undoubtedly traditional taxi drivers who have already lost 10% of their income… while the winners are customers who have more choice amid falling prices.

As Uber continues to spread across the US, it remains to be seen what the next trend will bring. It is certain, however, that traditional taxi drivers will continue